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O'Saturday: St. Paul poised to make St. Patrick's Day a weekend event

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What would St. Patrick do?

Minnesota's biggest St. Patrick's Day celebration may not be on St. Patrick's Day in the future. St. Paul is leaning toward moving its parade and associated celebrations to the Saturday closest to March 17.

WCCO reports business owners (read bar owners) are pushing for the change. In the 48 years the city has held a St. Patrick's Day parade, it's almost always been at noon on March 17th.

But Pat Boemer, the owner of Pat McGovern's, tells the station that making the parade a Saturday fixture instead of always holding it on the 17th makes all the sense in the world. "People don’t have to work the next day and they can bring their kids out for the parade,” says Boemer, who typically serves about 20,000 customers on St. Patrick's Day. He adds that plenty of traditionalists are likely to continue celebrating on the 17th.

The parade is organized by the St. Patrick's Association, which is counting down the minutes until Monday's event and has not yet made any announcement about future years.

WCCO says, though, that Mayor Chris Coleman has endorsed the move to Saturdays and Boemer tells the station the decision has been made.

The Pioneer Press reports that if the parade locks in as a Saturday event, the traditional Irish Celebration at Landmark Center is prepared to do the same.

Lisa Conway, the president of the Irish Music and Dance Association, tells the newspaper: "I think we're going to get a lot more people involved in St. Patrick's Day. Then we don't have to take the day off work or off school."

The President of the West Seventh Street Business Association also spoke to the Pioneer Press but sounded more resigned to the change than enthused about it. "It's just part of the way things are going these days," Joe Landsberger says. "It's tradition versus the weekend thing, and national holidays even have gone that way."

Minneapolis holds its St. Patrick's Day parade on the evening of the 17th and has not plans to change that. But the Mill City is celebrating on Saturday, as well. That's when the Wee Leprechaun Contest is being held.

That's among WCCO's picks for Minnesota's best family-friendly St. Patrick's Day activities.

Or you could head for a beer tent. Visit St. Paul has some suggestions.

As for what St. Patrick would do ... well, it's hard to say.

But whatever he chose, he would likely make a persuasive case for it. After all, the website Catholic Online tells us that back in the 5th Century St. Patrick converted all of Ireland to Christianity. No blarney.

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